Former Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins has caused outrage with an appearance on ITV’s This Morning by claiming that she “didn’t like” children with “lower class” names such as Charmaine, Chantelle, Chardonnay and Tyler and that she would prevent her own offspring from playing with them.
“A name, for me, is a short way of working out what class that child comes from,” Hopkins said. “[And I can decide from that] do I want my child to play with them?”
This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield challenged her opinions, with the former asking why Hopkins wouldn’t want her children to play with “lower class” kids.
“It’s not just class…There’s a whole set of things that go with children like that. They are quite a disruptive influence at school. That’s why I don’t like those sort of children,” Hopkins said, adding that such kids probably didn’t do their homework and were unlikely to have “good prospects”.
She said: “I target children that I think will be a good influence and curtail friendships with children I think will drag them down.”
Hopkins claimed that children who had “intelligent names” were likely to have intelligent parents and better prospects.
The author Anna May Mangan, who was also a guest on This Morning, branded Hopkins’ remarks “snort-worthy”, adding: “I can’t believe that you’re such an insufferable snob.”
“Working class children are doing incredibly well at school. For you to categorise them by their names – which they didn’t even choose – is cruel, snooty and unkind and so old fashioned,” Mangan said.
At one point Willoughby, Mangan and Hopkins all began speaking over each other, with Schofield intervening saying loudly “Stop, stop stop!”
Willoughby apologised for losing her cool: “I’m sorry, I just can’t help but get involved.”
Things took a comedic turn when Hopkins declared she didn’t like “geographical names” such as Brooklyn or London, before Schofield pointed out that her own daughter’s name is India. “That’s not related to a place,” Hopkins said.
ITV said there had been huge response to Hopkins’ appearance with hundreds of viewers emailing and responding on social networking sites. One viewer named Tyler wrote in to remark: “How dare she? I’ve just got my PHD and I’m from a working class family.”
Another viewer emailed to say she agreed with Hopkins and that her “stomach turned” when she discovered her child’s new friend was called Chardonnay.
A public vote conducted by This Morning showed that 91 per cent of viewers disagreed with Hopkins’ views and would not judge a child by their name.
Hopkins appeared on Alan Sugar’s BBC reality show The Apprentice in 2007. She has also appeared on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!